Confronting institutional racism – Scholar Strike and Trent

Dear Colleagues,

Last week, a group of Canadian faculty members posted a proposal to hold a Scholar Strike in solidarity with those fighting to advance racial justice across North America. Both our national and provincial affiliates (see OCUFA statement, here) have echoed and amplified this call to action. Here is the opening paragraph from the webpage Scholar Strike Canada: “Scholars across Canadian universities are outraged at the relentless anti-Black police killings of Black people in the U.S. and in Canada. As athletes have done, so, too, must academics. We will be joining thousands of academics in higher education in a labour action known as Scholar Strike to protest anti-Black, racist and colonial police brutality in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere. Scholar Strike for Black Lives in Canada will take place on Sept 9th & 10th, 2020. For these two days, we will pause our teaching and all administrative duties. We will use this time to organize public digital teach-ins on police brutality and violence in our communities from both historical and contemporary perspectives.”

TUFA’s Executive Committee applauds this initiative and we encourage members to visit Scholar Strike Canada’s action page and consider adding your names to the growing list of supporting scholars. TUFA members have been deeply involved in efforts to redress the effects of structural racism in Canadian universities and Professors David Newhouse and Momin Rahman are currently serving in Equity portfolios on the executive committee of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. Closer to home, Prof. Michele McIntosh is chairing our internal Equity committee this year. Appendix W of the new collective agreement establishes a joint working group to review EDI practices at Trent and meetings began earlier this summer – we anticipate being able to provide an update on the work of that committee in the next month or so. Meantime, we are fortunate that several of our members got together virtually to record an online conversation about institutional racism and Trent University. Interested members can find that talk from 10 July 2020 here.

In the spirit of Scholar Strike, two participants from that conversation in July (Momin Rahman and Byron Stoyles) along with David Newhouse have agreed to field questions and engage a broader virtual discussion of institutional racism this Thursday (September 10th) from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. Our Member-at-Large for Equity (Michele McIntosh) will moderate the discussion. We are calling this session: “Challenge the way you think: confronting and addressing institutional racism at Trent.” Members will be able to join the conversation using the following Zoom link. See you then!

To participate in Thursday’s conversation please contact tufa@trentu.ca to access the link to use for the following:

Topic: “Challenge the way you think: confronting and addressing institutional racism at Trent.”
Time: Sep 10, 2020 – 1:30 pm Eastern Time

On behalf of the Executive Committee,
Michele and Dirk

Michele McIntosh
Member at Large (Equity)
Dirk Wallschlaeger
President